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Monday, December 27, 2010

Money is no object.

My stomach is in the way.  By this I mean that people have stepped aside on the sidewalk to give me wide berth as they flatten themselves against buildings.  Strangers ask me when I'm "going to pop."

And if I saw a $20 bill in the street, I'm not sure I would attempt to pick it up.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lipstick ruined. And I would do it again.

Do not F--- with a pregnant woman.

Today I parked at the mall for a bit of Christmas shopping.  When I got back to my car, I discovered that some a--hole had parked their over-priced heap inches -- I mean INCHES away from my car door.  And when I say inches, I mean that I was unable to open my car door enough to even fit my hand.  Who does that?  I looked for scrapes along my car, because that's how close this other car was to mine.

I was going to have to go through the passenger side to try to get in and weasel my fat pregnant ass into the driver's seat.  Do you have any idea how hard this is?  Do you know the pain involved?  I looked around and even considered asking someone to crawl in and back the car out for me.

Oh, but I was so damned angry, so mad, so frustrated, so pregnant.  I found a scrap of paper and a pen and I decided that I would leave the owner of this car a note, telling them just want brand of jerk I though she or he was.

Just then my pen ran out of ink.

But brilliance struck.  I pulled a lipstick out of my bag and proceeded to write out, in the plum tones of MAC Viva Glam VI, exactly what I thought this person was.

And I wrote it right across the windshield.

Epilogue:  I've gotten so many questions asking what I wrote on the windshield:  
I wrote "A--hole."  But I think that the best part of all is that I had the presence of mind to write the word backwards, so that the person could read it across her/his windshield from the comfort of the drivers seat. 

Also, a big "thank you" to the devoted reader who sent me a replacement lipstick for my birthday !  A perfect, poetic end to this troublesome moment.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vent: Pain & Liquor

My back hurts and I want a margarita.  Easy on the ice, easy on the lime.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let's Talk Donuts

I hear and read about things such as "baby brain" and about crazy cravings and I wonder, "who makes this shit up?"  I'm convinced it's simply another way of pigeon-holing women as strange creatures with little in the way of common sense.

Except I have had an occasional freak-out if I cannot find a donut store within a short time frame.  It happened a few weeks ago, and I thought little of it then, but it happened again today, when I scoured the town where I work for one, measly, donut store.  By "scoured" I mean that I drove up and down streets looking for the word "donuts" on any building in town.  For a full thirty minutes. 

I concluded that there are no donut stores in this town.  Can you imagine a place without donuts?  An entire population without access to fried and sugared dough.  It's nothing short of a tragedy.  Luckily for this place, I'm quitting soon, never again to return without the armature of an apple fritter to protect me.

So maybe I have some cravings.  Maybe.

Baby brain -- well, I have always thought this to be something made up by the same people who invented PMS.  But now I have reason to worry that it might be somewhat accurate.  Just last week, I was eating a banana, and I set it down.  Moments later, I COULD NOT FIND THE BANANA.  And let me tell you, I searched high and low for that thing.  Hours later, I found the half-eaten fruit in the trunk of my car.  Oh, yeah, THERE.  Of course.  That makes sense.  Incidentally, it was a really hot, sunny day.  Not good.

Pregnancy is a funny thing. And I don't mean miracle-of-life funny, I mean funny as in odd, and mystifying, and truly hard to relate to from a distance, in my opinion.  I never thought I would turn into a sugar-craved, bumbling idiot.  But when I tell these stories to friends who have been pregnant, they say, "Yep, been there.  And there was this incicent with a chocolate cream pie..."

Which is all to say, that pregnancy is elusive and weird and but it has its moments, like when you don't give a rat's ass if everyone sees you stripping the meat off a drumstick while wearing a bikini.

And then it slaps you in the face with a rotting banana.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Truisms: Standing, Sober, but Not Hungry

A Few Truisms

1. It absolutely sucks eggs that you can't drink.  No two ways about it.  I know that popular thought, current research, and the French consider it OK to drink a small-to-moderate amount of alcohol while pregnant, but the act of having to moderate at all makes drinking wholly unsatisfying to me.  Every small sip I take is a reminder that my little allotment is near its end.  And this makes me want it all the more.  When my husband and I walk past the bars and pubs in our neighborhood, I sometimes stop at the doorways to leer at the bottles behind the bar, while I plot my future drinking lineup.  I can't decide if my first postpartum drink will be a pina colada, a margarita, a whiskey sour, a gin and tonic, a martini, or a jug of sangria.

2. If you are on a crowded subway train/bus, the only person who will offer you a seat is not the dapper gentleman in a three-piece suit, but rather, the tired-looking woman on her way home from a job where she's been on her feet all day.  That guy thinks that reading the Wall Street Journal and trading cow patty futures entitles him to extra time on his ass.  Meanwhile, you're busy populating the earth with new life so that humanity doesn't fade away into the ether.  But you have to stand in a hot, crowded subway train while doing this.

3. The bad news: your stomach is enormous.  The good news: your ass now looks small by comparison.

4. The urgency to urinate is inversely proportional to the amount of pee that actually leaves your body.  I feel like a 70-year-old man with an enlarged prostate.

5. So far, the best, and only, perk of being pregnant is not having to suck my stomach in at the beach.

Last weekend, I was chomping on fried chicken legs and throwing them over my shoulder, sucking down lemonades, and gobbling chocolate chip cookies, all while sporting a tiny black bikini, legs akimbo, stomach hanging down over my beach chair.  All without the slightest worry that I might have to inhibit my intake of oxygen in order to appear smaller than I really am.

It was absolute freedom in a bikini, for the first time in decades.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Guilt, Party of One, Your Table is Ready

So I scheduled the amnio.  What else would I do, really.  Statistics don't work for me.  That I might be the one in however many thousands who might hold the (defective) bean is something my psyche could not stomach.  And the anxiety, crying jags, shakes, and erratic behavior set it.

I made the appointment and told no one besides my mothers-in-law, my husband, and my best friend.  I didn't want to hear one more bit of advice, read one Internet anecdote about an amnio gone bad, or have one more person telling me that they "had a friend who..." I needed radio silence.  And I was smart enough to know that the people I told respected my decision, or even outright supported it.  I was tipping the scale in my favor with absolute impunity.

I think it was a stroke of luck that my husband couldn't accompany me to the doctor's office that day.  Not that he's not supportive, but he's not as, say, indulgent, of my fears as my friends or my mothers-in-law.  I needed someone who could coddle me, not by feeding my fears, but by acknowledging them.  Someone who would allow me to own and hold these fears, and then just BE THERE. I think we all know what I'm talking about here:  I needed a woman by my side.

I got two.  Boy, did I hit the jackpot in the wedding lottery.  I hear mother-in-law horror stories all the time, but I have none of those.  If there was a divorce, I know who would be on MY side in the courtroom.  Seriously, I couldn't have dreamed up a better Amnio Dream Team.

One mother-in-law, who I'll call Mother Hen, sat in the waiting room and tried to remain calm by pacing the waiting room while the other one MIL did bedside duty.  Nurse Reddi, I'll call her. You want Nurse Reddi, or someone just like her, at your bedside.  Nurse Reddi was the one who held my hand and watched the doctor like a hawk.  Nurse Reddi was the one who whispered to me, conspiratorially, "I like him, he knows what he's doing.  I feel really good about this" when the doctor briefly left the room before the procedure.  Nurse Reddi also had the presence of mind to ask questions and remember the answers, like, when the tests would come back, if we could order a rush on them, and even asked about checking on some random birth defect even I hadn't heard of.  Nurse Reddi does online research prior to taking her place next to the bed.  I recommend you find your own Nurse Reddi and hang on for dear life.

I'm not a queasy, or easily grossed out sort of person.  I love looking at the needle when I'm having blood drawn.  If there was a full-time Surgery Channel option on my cable subscription, I would definitely add it.  In HD.  I can talk about knee surgery or a bout of diarrhea at the dinner table as I shovel steak into my mouth.

But I was unable to stomach the thought of watching the amnio needle enter my belly for this test.  All I could do was apologize silently to the fetus for what I was about to do.  A sharp object was about to invade his warm, wet, haven, and I had signed the papers to do so.  I am so sorry, I said.  But momma needs to sleep through the next five months without the assistance of opiates.

I'm not going to lie.  It hurts.  Not a lot, but it's a pain that I've never experienced before, I guess because it's not every day that your womb cramps up from being punctured with a 22-gauge needle.  In case you are wondering, that is incredible thin.  I had assumed it was going to be about two or three times as thick as a strand of spaghetti.  In actuality, it resembles the sort of needles used to draw your blood, maybe even thinner.  Also, I had mistakenly thought that the needle went into the belly button.  Again, not so.  The doctor uses the magic ultrasound wand to look for the best pockets of amniotic fluid, and then constantly looks at the screen to help him guide the needle to the fluid.  As soon as the needle goes in, the uterus reacts by cramping up -- there's the pain.  I pictured a jellyfish contracting in the water when I felt this.  The remainder of the time was spent pain-free, but it was the longest 60-seconds or so of my life.  That's when the doctor is piping out a couple of test tubes' worth of amniotic fluid.  (It takes so long because the needle is so thin.)

And then, that's it.  I was allowed to go home and rest for before resuming a somewhat normal life -- no heavy lifting, sex (that this would even be a remote consideration by a husband after an invasive procedure, is, in my opinion, a precursor to filing for divorce), or air travel, that sort of thing.  Oh, you also have to check for signs of leakage or blood.  I thought that the leak would come from my stomach, the place where the needle went in -- again, I imagined a sea creature, this time a whale, spouting out amniotic fluid from it's blowhole.  But no, the leak comes out the vagina.  These are the lessons learned by warm glow of an ultrasound screen.

So I was released on my own recognizance.  But I still had Mother Hen and Nurse Reddi, the ultimate Recovery Tag Team.  They all but took me out in a fireman's carry.  On the way to the car, there was much debate among the two of them as to whether or not I should proceed along a short incline or walk down small set of stairs.  I took the stairs while they evaluated.

The rest of my day was spent on my couch.  Mother Hen delivered my favorite foods and Nurse Reddi filled my water glass and they both spent a full six hours talking with me about every subject under the blue sky -- except amniocentesis.  If there is a medal for "Care in the Service of the Neurotic" these two earned it twice over.

After my Florence Nightingales left me in the ahem, care of, my betrothed, my night was once again, sleepless.  This time it was because of my trips to the toilet to check for leakage or blood (there was none), and because I would not leave the confines of the couch.  The remote became my talisman, the television, my companion, late into the night, while I monitored the cramping that the doctor had warned me about, and which he emphatically reminded me was perfectly normal.  Two Tylenol later, I finally nodded off under the watchful glow of Iron Chef.

The next two days would be a reprise of the first.  Bathroom, couch, kitchen, couch.  Though I was told one days' rest was sufficient,  I convinced myself that three days' rest would more fully insure me against the worst.  Three days passed, then three more, then three weeks, then five, and the memory of that morning fades more and more as the fetus slowly morphs from "it" to "him."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Order Up: Ham and Pea Salad with a side of Anxiety

I think it might have been just as well that none of you had to live through the first four months of this pregnancy.  Not unless you like to read an endless trail of whining, complaining, groaning, and “why-me-ing” online.  The other reason I was unable to bring myself to write on this blog during the first trimester of my pregnancy was because I was alternately nauseous and certifiably insane.

The nausea.  Ahh, those, lazy, crazy, heady days of stomach-churning nausea.  Not being able to throw up, and yet not being able to stomach the sight, smell, or taste of anything meant for human consumption.  I stopped cooking altogether.  My husband began to lose weight.  You hear about the partners of pregnant women gaining sympathy pounds.   Well, my husband lost inches off his waistline.  He should thank me.

I also happened to go on a vacation to Texas during my first trimester.  There was a plethora of items which nearly incited projectile vomiting.  Texas BBQ?  Normally, I would have been a huge fan, gorging on tender, juicy meats. ribs, you name it.  The smell instead translated into the most primitive of roasting decaying flesh, often accompanied by acrid, vinegary sauces, and sides that made me dry-heave behind my napkin while sitting at diners: imagine ham and pea salad laden with globs of mayonnaise and celery salt and you have an idea of what sort of culinary torture I was enduring.  

Or, it could have been the continuous site of signs for the George W. Bush Turnpike.

I felt so guilty for not wanting to eat anything, and fearful that I was depriving the zygote nutrition, that when I got back home, I compensated by force-feeding myself cheeseburgers.  I must have had five, six, burgers a week.  As far as my pregnancy logic went, cheeseburgers had all of the components essential to healthy fetal growth and development.   Think about the components of a cheeseburger and tell me you don’t agree. The truth is, even cheeseburgers made me want to hurl, but I swallowed them because I was sacrificing myself for my unborn child.  It better appreciate this someday, I thought.  Like when it thanked me for winning an Olympic gold medal, or practiced the piano without complaint.  

Truth is, the only “food” I could stomach was lemonade.  Anything liquid, cold, and lemon-flavored.  I didn’t care what it was, as long as it was made up of those three components.  It’s a wonder I haven’t developed an ulcer.

When I wasn’t on a rampage to find lemonade, I was trying to keep from having a nervous breakdown.  I could not keep it together.  The crying jags were taking a toll on my relationship.

“You have GOT to get it together” my husband would tell me.

But I was too worried.  Too worried that something was horribly wrong with the fetus.  Understand that I wasn’t just worried that it would die.  I was just as worried that it wouldn’t.  If something was wrong with it, I wanted something else to make the decision for me.  I have always been grateful that if the other two pregnancies I had “resolved” themselves --- if indeed they were not viable and that was the reason – though I will never know the reason why.  That’s part of the cruelty of miscarriages, you have no idea if it was something you did,or didn’t, do, or if there was just something horribly wrong with the chromosomes that made up those bundles of cells.  As the pregnancy advanced, I worried about all of the things that it could possibly have, but survive in the womb.  I was worried I was being tricked into being happy about being pregnant.

My fears ranged from spina bifida to Down’s Syndrome to open-heart to it missing part of its brain to – this is a good one, wait for it: I was really afraid that maybe it would be a hermaphrodite.  I was trying to figure out what I would do if it was born with two kinds of genitals.  Would I raise it as an asexual person, naming it ‘Pat” or “Chris” until it decided what it wanted to be?  Or maybe I would  just have the doctor snip something off, in the hopes that it would become whatever I had arbitrarily determined.

If it sounds like I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about this last issue, it’s because I did, I really did.  Imagine my surprise when a friend recently revealed to me her own fears for her baby when she was pregnant, only to mention that SHE had been wondering what to do if the baby was double-sexed too!  I was ecstatic to share my morbid fascination/fear with someone, which I had indulged in privately.  We had a nice, long conversation about all of the possibilities and choices regarding this issue.  Oddly enough, it was sort of freeing, and oddly fun, to finally be able to talk about it.

But I still had to decide what to do: risk the pregnancy with an amnio, just to assuage my worst fears? Or trust that things were going to turn out all right, given that the non-invasive scans and blood tests so far, had determined that the statistics pointed in my favor?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Freebie

During one of our regular walks, my husband announced that now that this every-other-ovulation-day Clomid sex was done with, if I got pregnant now, we would just have to chalk it up it to the mortgage-blowing acupuncture and the hippie energy work.  

We did it exactly ONCE during my next ovulation that month. Talk about putting the hippie practices to the test.   

But, maybe there’s something in them needles. Because I got pregnant.  Really. I’m currently in my 22nd week. 

I didn’t know if I should even mention it to my blog “family” when it first happened.  I had conflicting feelings about turning my Clomid Diary into a pregnancy blog.  After all, I hate most pregnancy blogs that I come across out there; the miracle of life and all that happy feel-good crap. Not me, so much at this point.

But my husband kept asking me when I was going to tell my blog. 

“Have you announced it on your blog yet?” he would ask every morning.  

“No, I haven’t.” I felt like a fraud: I had shared so much about my miscarriages, and Clomid-taking. But here I was, being so cautious about sharing my pregnancy secret with the world - I had turned into one of those pregnancy-hiders.  After all, this was good news.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to write the words.

I refused to tell most friends, or if I did, it was with so much sworn secrecy, qualifiers, and doom-and-gloom scenarios, that when I did get around to saying the words”..and I’m pregnant”  that the face of the person I told was a strange mash-up of reactions: hopefulness, joy, maybe a little pity.  It was a little, sad, really.  I could not be happy for myself or allow anyone else to be happy for me.  Not this time.  Not again.  I was going to protect myself, dammit.

A week or two, then six, went by, and I was nearing my first visit to the doctor.  I had the usual: weight check, lab orders for a full blood work up, uterus pressing, the whole shibang. But, no heart beat check, not yet, it was too early. Damn. I was frustrated.

But the clincher, the real cherry on top, was placed by my undoubtedly well-meaning, if not slightly, absent-minded, and obviously very busy OB.

“So remind me,” she said, as she slammed shut my two-inch thick chart, ”is this a Clomid pregnancy?”

You would think she would have some clue if I was currently taking the Clomid.  Like, if I was floating face down in the San Francisco Bay.

‘Um, NO...” I replied. 

“Oh, great!  We have a freebie!” She said. “See you in four weeks.”

Freebie indeed.  I’ll give her a freebie.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Called to the Carpet

So, one of my top-five readers (I have five readers, total, by the way) called me to the carpet the other day with the briefest of emails.  It read, "What happens when a blog goes stale?"  OUCH!

Thanks, Gentle Reader, V.  Touche!

After three unsuccessful rounds of Clomid, I decided to go the alternative therapy route and do as my fellow Romans, er, San Franciscans do, and just do the hippy dippy thang and get acupuncture and energy work.  I mean, since the Clomid made me want to jump off a bridge, maybe needles and ancient rattles could do what modern science could not.

I promptly went about making expensive, out-of-pocket appointments with a really nice acupuncturist.  She's from France.  Having an accent gives a person about 75% more credibility, don't you think?  Which reminds me, I need to hire someone with a British accent to record my outgoing message. 

She went to town with the tiny needles, placing them on my meridians, and informing me that I should come back at least two more times before I ovulated.  Which I did.   Just after I took out a second line of credit on the house. 

Then I took up a close relative, B., on her offer to supplement my extertions with Energy Work.  In a nutshell, Bodywork, or Energy Work, involves checking your preconceptions at the door and jumping into what some might consider the "New Age" deep end of the pool.  B. and I spoke a little about my stress and fears surrounding pregnancy, the trauma of my miscarriages, and my expectations for the future.  Then I laid down on her cushion-y massage table, she wrapped me in a knitted blanket, and asked me to close my eyes. 

Soon, the smell of burning sage wafted gently into the room, and B. asked me to just sit with my intentions, to consider all the possibilities that the moment had to offer and to let them go.  Thus began our Guided Visualization. 

Let me interject here to mention that I'm not the meditating type.  I'm prone to opening my eyes during the relaxation portion of yoga classes, and I'm not the least bit susceptible to hypnotism (I tried getting hynotized once, to no avail-- that's another story for another day).  But something about having another body in the room, talking, and guiding me through the silence -- in other words, not silent at all -- made it possible for me to really truly relax and give it up. 

She lead me through this little trip by suggesting visuals for me to imagine in my mind's eye -- think a walk along the ocean, or by the side of a stream -- and then guided me to think about my pregnancy intention, if that's what came up.  I went on a really soothing, gentle journey in my mind -- and B. allowed me to speak and react whenever I felt the urge (sometimes, during yoga meditation, don't you just feel like letting out a scream? No?  Ok, it's just me then.).  All options were open, and OK.  Not having any rules made me feel assured that I couldn't mess this up. 

45 minutes went by like THAT.  Seriously, I was on that table for 3/4 of an hour, and it felt like a moment.  We talked about what I "saw"; it felt like when you describe a dream to friend and she tries to help you figure out what it's about.  Only this time, the person I was telling the dream to really gave a shit. 

I don't remember the drive home, except I think I clocked a maximum of 25 MPH.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't RSVP to my Pity Party, You're Not Invited Anyway

I've seen my acupuncturist twice in this past week, and will see her again tomorrow.  I have to take my hat off to the acupuncture; I feel a renewed sense of calm that I haven't had, maybe, ever.  You can chalk it up to a placebo effect, or you can say that my meridians have been controlled or that my chi is balanced.  Whatever, I'll take it.

And so, when I spoke with one of my close friends the other day and she asked me how I was doing, and I said I hadn't felt so great in months.   I alluded to the "dark" places that Clomid had taken me, and how I now felt renewed and alive once again.

"What do you mean, she asked, were you depressed?"

"Yes, that's exactly what I meant," I replied.

"What about?"


I paused for a beat.  The answer to that question might, to most readers, be obvious, and the question itself might have seemed daft.  Why indeed, would a woman who has had two miscarriages and tried unsuccessfully for several cycles to get pregnant, be the least bit sad or depressed?

I explained that I had become overwhelmingly melancholy when I took Clomid for those three cycles.  The feeling had no name, it had no circumstantial basis -- that would have been too easy to express.  I was not sad that I didn't have a baby, I wasn't pining away over my unused crib in my basement, I was blind with a feeling of despair that is simply hard to fathom unless you've ever felt suicidal or like you were trying to claw your way out of a wooden box buried deep in the ground.

"Well, why didn't you say anything?  Why didn't you write about it on the blog?" She asked.

I've got to hand it her, she had a point.  Here I was laying bare all of my woes, but I kept one of the worst aspects of the process to myself.

Maybe I felt that the blog had turned into a sort of funny pages about trying to get pregnant. Perhaps my own pride got in the way; it's hard to admit when your sadness is so undefined.  I also didn't want to throw a pity party.  The only person invited to that is my husband, who is legally bound to tell me hundreds of times, without complaint, that I'm not a loser and that I'm cute and skinny and small.  He is also bound by law to ignore my frequent trips to the freezer for ice cream immediately following a fat debate.  HE is invited to the pity party.

But once again, (no small thanks to friends) I'm called to my mission: to be open and honest and forthcoming about my process.  In the hope that it might assist other women to feel less self-conscious if they've gone through a similar experience, to teach to those who haven't, and, selfishly and most of all, to make it easier for me to put one foot in front of the other.  And I'm walking taller.

Next week: "energy work."  Whatever that means.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Luteinizing Louboutins

Ever take a pregnancy test and have it come out negative but you take the other two tests in the box anyway, just in case that one test is defective?  Yep.  I've done that every cycle.

I could have bought a really nice pair of shoes with the money I've spent on three-packs of early detection pregnancy tests.  Ok, maybe not a pair of Louboutins, but at least a pair of sale-rack, past-season, peep-toe Manolos:

I'm here to say that I am going in a totally different direction with this whole thing now: I'm going au naturale.  Tonight I have my very first acupuncture appointment, dedicated to addressing fertility.  And I'm jumping into the deep end of the pool: not only am I paying to have little needles poking my meridians, I'm also signing up for Maitri Breathwork.  I'll even take herbs and do weird dances during the full moon if it will help.

Told ya I'm going whole-hog. 

My only worry is that I'll be told to stop ingesting caffeine and wine, in which case things will not be very pretty around our house.

Oh, but I almost forgot: I feel totally awesome not being on Clomid.  I'm getting less bloated by the hour. My clothes fit better, I'm not annoyed all the time, and the husband claims I look skinnier than I have in months.  (Maybe I had to prompt him for this last detail; maybe I had to ask three, four times, "I'm skinnier, right?  RIGHT?"  Or maybe he just said it.  Can't remember now.  Point is, it was said.)

"Acupuncture Diaries" doesn't really have the same ring to it that my current blog title does, so forgive me for keeping it and moving on with my experiments nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ham Belly and Cheese Thighs

Yesterday I Googled the terms "Clomid + weight gain."

I read the accompanying sheet that came with my prescription but I swear that I don't remember the part about becoming a fatter version of yourself.  They should also add a part where they tell you that every month, you have various tell-tale signs of pregnancy, such as frequent urination, sore breasts, and a bloated middle, except that your pregnancy tests still come out negative!

I just thought of an awesome new ad campaign for our favorite drug: "Clomid.  All the symptoms and none of the pregnancy!"

My weight gain hasn't been evident to the naked eye -- unless I'm the naked one.  I'm thin, so its the sort of bloated, fatter feeling and the slight increase of a muffin-top over my jeans that only I can notice.  Well, me and my husband, that is, who now likes to squeeze my middle while announcing "Ham!" in a very loud voice.

Another side effect of Clomid for me?  Depression.  I looked this up too.  Mood swings, anxiety and depression were listed on various Web sites.  Mine was what you might consider "severe."  True, it lasted only about three days, but those days, they were dark, my friend, very dark.  If you had seen me walking down the street, there would have been a storm cloud raining directly over my head.

Which has led me to decide that I'm not taking Clomid any more.  Ironically, I have been taking the lowest possible dose, 50 mg, so I wonder if my Dr. will try to talk me into a cycle at a higher dose.  But I also worry how much worse the symptoms would be.  I will have to be locked inside a padded cell for those 36 hours.

I'm a bit bummed about my decision, because taking Clomid made me feel a sense of control, like I was actively doing something to increase my chances, instead of waiting and waiting for nature to take its course.  Nature's time frame doesn't work for compulsive, control-freak, Type-A personalities like yours truly.

Well, I've said my peace and now it's 8 a.m.  Time for ice cream.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pregnant Women Are Smug But Nobody Says It

My sole (I think) male reader sent this gem to me today:

 Pregnant Women Are Smug (click here to see video)

I'm on the floor. Things are funnier when they are true.

I'm also on round three of Clomid. Tomorrow is the magical first day of DTD. Yeah yeah yeah whatever. I'm over this.

Really, I'm not bitter, it's hard to express this adequately on the screen. Just OVAH IT. I have s--t to do with my life, and waiting around to find out if my eggs are hatching and fertile is getting on my nerves and I'm not directing enough energy to the stuff I want to achieve.

There's a lesson here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Girl Can't Help It

You know that phrase, "Laugh and the whole world laughs with you?" Well, I say, Start taking fertility meds and the whole world seems to get pregnant. Except you.

I went to dinner with four girl friends last week. We were meant to be celebrating a rare night away from our significant others, to indulge in "girl talk," and to guzzle Chardonnay. Nary a moment after the first sip, the talk about pregnancy began. All of the other women at the table had at least one child. In short time, I felt alone among my small group, adrift without a paddle. Or an operational uterus.

The conversation morphed from pregnancy to birth, to vaccinations, to antibiotics, to playdates, and to pureeing vegetables. I was almost able to chime in at one point: I like a pureed parsnip as much as the next toddler.

There was a ten-minute interlude solely dedicated to tips and tricks for breastfeeding children with teeth.

It felt endless. Where was that waitress? I needed more wine. NOW. I monitored the conversation: there was not one single topic discussed that didn't expound on the experience of motherhood. I felt alienated, but I also felt sort of appalled. These ladies all knew my history. Normally talkative, I had virtually nothing to say. It would have behooved them to acknowledge that their conversation was totally and completely excluding a member of their small party. I was baffled by their lack of awareness.

This is not the first time I've experienced this sort of exclusion. And I know my friends: they would never be intentionally cruel. No one would.

I've narrowed it down to this: there are certain experiences in life, such as marriage and motherhood, are so all-consuming, so enthralling, and so fraught with confusion and emotion, that a life previous to this landmark event is simply no longer imaginable. In short: they just can't help themselves.

Being childless among the fertile masses has taught me to never dwell on the details of pregnancy, episiotomies, stretch marks, teething, breastfeeding, or a trial of solid foods in front of my childless friends. I'll never do that.

But I look forward to the moment when I just can't help it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sex in an Arena

After my second miscarriage landed me in the hospital for two days, I started to reveal it to a larger circle of people, many more than I did after the first. The whole situation was sad, but the threat to my health made it scarier than sad this time around. I understood more than ever how much women fear exposing their miscarriages.

I began writing this blog because I wanted to share my fears and loneliness surrounding pregnancy and miscarriage. I felt very alone and even embarrassed when I lost my first pregnancy. It's because pregnancy is often hidden, it's something spent whispering about until the third trimester. Yes, there is a lot of joy, but there is also a sense of impending doom about a pregnancy.

I get that it's an attempt to protect your feelings and the feelings of others -- after all, why extend the suffering to everyone you know? But I also feel like there's this sense of immense failure when you lose a pregnancy. It caused me to dissect every last one of my actions leading up to the miscarriage: maybe I shouldn't have gone running, or eaten that salami sandwich. Ultimately I knew it that it was not my fault. So, why did I still feel like such a loser?

And when I told women who had also had miscarriages how I felt, the floodgates opened. They told me how they always wanted to talk to someone but just couldn't. There might be support groups out there that give women this opportunity, but I certainly didn't know about it. And, let's face it, who's going to search "Miscarriage Support" while they're also reading about strollers, and cribs? I hope that my small forum here will help alleviate the pressures, sadness, and sense of aloneness.

Speaking of pressure: a couple of weekends ago I felt like I DTD'ed in an arena. We were scheduled to go on a weekend trip with friends, all staying one house. Just before the start of the trip, I realized that I would be ovulating during that time. We would be DTD in a crowded house! For some people, their sense of exhibitionism might prevail, but not in this case -- it would be baby-making sex, not "run into the bathroom at the height of passion". The baby-making aspect made it somehow more animalistic and raw. And a little embarrassing.

Luckily, the situation fell into place and we were able to slip away to DTD without attracting too much attention. Afterward, laying there and hearing the sounds of laughter and glasses clinking one room away, I decided to rejoin the party.

Friends were gathered in front of a fireplace, drinking wine. They spotted me, and then broke into a round of applause. When I sat down, one friend immediately walked over to where I was and deftly elevated my legs. And another friend handed me my wine glass.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Please Hold While I Attempt to Erase This Image From My Brain

So, it turned out that I did not get pregnant this past cycle, despite the Clomid, DTD on the "right" days, etc. etc.

So I got a new supply of Clomid for this cycle. I looked at my calendar, and it turns out that I will ovulate during the same week that I had planned to visit my family. I called my father and told him that I had to put my trip on hold.

"Why?" He asked.

I considered being vague, but then I thought, oh, fuck it, who cares.

"Well, I'm taking this fertility medication that makes me ovulate on certain days and I have to stay home to have sex."


"Hello? Dad? Are you still there?"

"Um...That's a lot of detail."

Friday, February 5, 2010

"I Hate Babies"

I do this every month: I'm convinced I'm pregnant. I check for signs of breast tenderness, bloating, and other "tell-tale" signs of pregnancy, like one day after DTD.

No matter that they are the very same signs as PMS -- nope, I'm convinced that the reason I have to pee is because my hormones are elevated; that the increased gas is not from the garlic bruschetta and hummus dinner the night previous, but yes, those doggone hormones. And for the record, yes, increased gas IS a by-product of pregnancy.

I know these things because, though I have no children, I've been pregnant before. Twice. After my last miscarriage, I was pretty sick of the whole exercise and considered giving up the whole endeavor. I know, I know: you probably know about a million women who have had multiple miscarriages and now have a baby; or maybe you've had fertility issues or multiple miscarriages, and suffered much more than I; or maybe I'm just made up of weaker stuff than the rest of the women out there, who experience this loss over and over again, but who can keep their eye on the prize.

But the truth lies in the fact that while sitting in the hospital and getting a blood transfusion after my most recent miscarriage, my mothers-in-law called (yes, I have more than one, it's a longer story for another time) and asked me how I was doing. And I told them: I hate babies.

I did. If you tried handing me a baby at that point in the hospital, I would have not so much as given that baby a sideways glance. I would have calmly continued drinking that weird, tinny-tasting orange juice that they only serve in hospitals, and maybe changed the channel on my mounted television to see if I could catch an episode of Law & Order.

In fact, I told anyone who would ask, or listen, or even if they didn't ask or want to listen, that I hated babies. I was angry that babies made my body to bleed so profusely on my bathroom floor that my husband had to call an ambulance at six in the morning. I was annoyed that babies made me want them so much that I was willing to endure invasive testing and procedures and pain and weight gain, and yes, a lot of gas, all to have them. Fuck babies, I thought.

They can keep their cute, fat faces and tiny, coordinated outfits, and chunky little Fred Flintstone-feet for all I cared. I wasn't going to put up with their methods any longer: behind those gurgling smiles are diapers filled with pounds of poop. I was on to their game, and I wasn't going to put up with it one moment longer. The jig was up. I was going to throw away the fertility pee-sticks and start life with no more babies on my brain.

Then, something funny happens. Time passes, and then you think about a baby, and for the first time in months, you don't hate them. Then you come across a baby a store, and it looks at you and smiles. You go about your life and you're happy, but then you think, I could, maybe, possibly, be happy with one of those after all. You visit those babies that you know, the ones that belong to your friends or relatives, and you realize, that maybe you were wrong about them all along. You find an unopened box of fertility pee-sticks in the back of the cabinet under the sink. Let the games begin, you find yourself saying.

They have methods, these babies.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 17: A Good Idea for an Invention.

P. asked me if I was going to take a pregnancy test now.

I told him that they don't make 72-hour DTD pregnancy tests.

...And we wait.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Modern Love: NYT article

I just came across this NYT essay. Great insight and great writing:

My favorite quote from the article:

My younger brother tried ineptly to comfort me: “You’re 31,” he said. “It’s not like you could have a baby this late anyway.”

Day 16: Cloudy with a Chance of Baby Showers

DTD, DTD, DTD. It is done. Or not. Now, we wait.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over.

It feels as if someone turned on the ovary faucet and eggs are pouring out. I had NO idea what women were talking about before. Now I do. I wish I didn't. My whole post-pubescent life, I had been placidly, contentedly even, ovulating under cover of night. Now it's like an air-horn.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sleepy Eggs?

So if I take Ambien on Clomid, will my eggs be too tired to make it out of their house and take a walk along the fallopian tubes? I can see them now: rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, knocking into the ovary walls, looking for their glasses, keys, gathering the kids, and yelling over their shoulder,

"Let's Go! She's surging! We don't have all day!"

Actually, I'm told we have a 48-hour window after the surging happens.

Oh, I finally took a second surge indicator test today. I practically strapped that little stick to my belt until I got a reading. I've been thinking, and what that contraption needs is sound -- a little bell that chimes when its ready to deliver its news.

Better yet, how about different music for the two different answers. For the blank, non-surge indicator circle, I think a good song would be "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne, or - no - wait, how about, "Can I Get a F--- U" by Jay Z. Yea! that one is most appropro. For the happy surging face, I'm torn between Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical" and Salt n Pepa's "Push it." Maybe "Push It" is best saved for a positive pregnancy test.

SO, still no surge today, but I think tomorrow is the day I take my E-ticket ride. (For those of you who don't remember back that far, E-Ticket rides at Disneyland were always the ones with the longest lines: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, that sort of thing). So tomorrow, I'm betting the house and DTD, no matter what.

I'll maintain radio silence and keep from sharing any sordid DTD details, not to worry. It's still a PG-rated blog. For now.

Day 9: Waiting to Pee. Again.

I wake up this morning all excited to take yet another surge indicator test and I'm extra happy because I totally have to pee and the directions tell you that the "first morning" pee is the one you want only they call it urine, not pee. So I pee on the little stick and the little readout is reading it and I set it down because it takes a couple of minutes.

And then I go into the kitchen and eat an grapefruit. Then I put the kettle on to boil. Then I try to scrub the muffin pan that I made mini-quiches in last night in last night. They egg is stuck to the bottom of the goddamned little muffin cups and curse myself for forgetting to put little paper muffin liners in the little cups, and then I remember I want to put in a load of laundry...Do you know where I'm going with this? If you have taken these tests, then you know that you have a small window of time when the readout is displayed and then it clears itself out and goes blank. Yeah. I remember the surge test and I run to the bathroom, and: blank.

Now I have to wait until I have to pee again and I totally don't have to pee right now and drinking more water just sort of dilutes the whole thing, so I have to wait for a real pee, not a forced just-drank-a-gallon-of-water pee. I'm am a huge, multi-tasking dork.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 7: Away We Go?

Know what today is?  It's the day we are supposed to DTD.  But I took one of those digital LH-Surge indicator tests that is supposed to tell you when you are about to ovulate. The thing that you pee on has a little digital readout and a smiley face comes on when you're surging.  

If you're not surging, then you get a blank circle. But I think it should have a sticking-tongue out face.  With a middle finger.  


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day Five: Clomid Chaser

I swallowed the last of my series of five Clomid dosages last night, fittingly, I thought, with a gin and tonic. The cat-ladies of the pregnancy-blog world would be horrified.

So the other day, my OB/GYN called me. Every time that woman calls me on the phone I feel as if I've been called by the Pope himself. It's akin to running into your science teacher at the grocery store when you're in the third grade: something's off with the world. I supposed it's also because a personal phone call from my physician feels so old-fashioned. And, I think it's because growing up, doctors were considered to be the end-all, be-all, no matter what.

Doctors were given almost god-like cult status in my home; being a doctor meant you were smarter than everyone else, you were more important to the world than most other people, and you were rich. That may not apply these days; especially, from what I hear, the rich part, but doctors still hold a certain allure in my eyes.

So when she calls me, I turn off the radio. If I'm in my car, I pull over. And if I'm in a room with others, I leave and go to a quiet one where I can be alone with her voice. I hang on her every word and am nervous to take any more of her precious time with my own silly questions. Only, she's never been anything but friendly and honest and approachable with me, which is why I can't get over the sort of celebrity-sighting feeling I have when I see her.

I have no idea if she's a "great" doctor, or if others like her, or hate her or feel indifferent. But I've been with her through some pretty bad shit, and I feel sort of committed to her. Friends don't understand this loyalty, and, it's true, I've considered switching to another doctor several times, just to see what's out there, you know, play the field of physicians and whatnot. But it really seems like such a process, to establish a relationship all over again.

I'm off to the lab to have my blood drawn to check my hormone levels. If I combined all of the blood that I've lost or had taken during this process, I swear it would fill a swimming pool.

With that gorgeous image, I bid you until next time...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day Four: Egg Pop?

So, I heard some disturbing news the other day. My friend, O., informed me that, if I've never experienced it before, this month, I should definitely feel an egg being released from my ovary.

What the WHAT?

I've been menstruating for 26 years without feeling that little egg pop through to my tubes, and I certainly don't want to start now.

Maybe all of these years when I thought I had indigestion...?

Just for fun, I decided to Google this whole concept. You know what? You know how you can enable that feature in Google where it finishes the phrase you're thinking about writing for you? Well, as I typed the words, "I can feel myself ovu--" finished it for me!

There are a whole lotta ladies out there talking about their ovulation sensations. One blog, appropriately titled, "VaginaPagina" --yes, really-- features several posts from dozens of women happily engaged in shared ovulation sensation experience. That's it, no other questions, just statements about how ovulation feels.

All but one. She posted that she was jealous cause she never felt a thing. (No, it wasn't me.)

But I think I'm starting to figure out this shared-experience thing.

As we grow up, nformation about our reproductive systems is passed along surreptitiously: in darkened classrooms in the fourth grade when we're forced to watch grainy movies about "Your Body"; between the dog-eared pages of Judy Blume novels; through whispered old wives tales'("don't kiss him in a wet bathing suit"); and the ever-present, omniscient voice of "a friend of a friend."

Being a woman has so many upsides -- pink lipstick, platform sandals, Gloria Gaynor songs -- but also so much that's kept way underground. I'm glad all of the friends of friends are finally banding together. We'll figure it all out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day Three: Druids DTD

So there are all of these pregnancy blogs,where you can write-in your questions and then other women respond. Based on my own research, doctor visits, and just plain common sense, it appears that the majority of the women answering the questions have acquired their information from the following four sources:

1. Fairy tales
2. Ancient Druid folklore
3. The Christian Coalition

Just kidding about the last one. That's just where I read about all of the Hollywood Stars who give birth to beautiful, blonde-flecked twin babies at age 45. This, has naturally led me to assume that when I have twin babies, I'll skip out of the hospital with a baby-filled basket on each arm, wearing size 27 skinny jeans (which is a bit redundant; all jeans sized 27 are skinny jeans).

There's this one blog I came across where the women post their picture, their screen name, and then, along the bottom of thier posting, in italicized letters, their due dates, like, "ScreenKitty is due on September 10!" Or, if they haven't managed to get pregnant yet: "Boodles has been TTC for two-and-a-half years." By the way, it may just be a coincidence, but a great many pregnancy blog contributers have feline-sounding screen names.

Which leads me to the acronym thing. Who knew? Did you know? I had no idea. These blogs and listserves and Web sites are filled to the brim with these acronyms. Nowhere is there a key which explains their elusive meanings.

But I have to say that satisfaction I have derived from decifering these little Rosetta Stones is exquisite. Here are the few I managed to disentangle:

TTC= Trying To Conceive
DTD= Did The Deed

OK. So I only figured out two. But I am planning to devote a large portion of the remainder of the evening to Googling more acronyms in the hopes that I'll garner knowledge of this underground society's mysterious language.

Back to the blog and the crazies. One poor woman, MrsPeepers22, started things off asking if it was OK to drink alcohol and take Clomid. Then the deluge began.

SnookyPants102: Well, I wouldn't take a single drink, Clomid or no Clomid, if I was TTC! (Her profile features the italicized "Due in 10 weeks-- it's a girl!")

Then, another woman got into the mix:

PurryFurry1: I agree with SnookyPants102. Why take that risk? I sure didn't take a single sip while I was TTC

Poor MrsPeepers22. Now she's branded as a selfish drunk.

MrsPeepers22: I only asked if it was safe to combine Clomid and alcohol, since I'll be going to my best friend's wedding. I didn't ask for your opinion!

SnookyPants102: Then why did you even ask? (Incidentally, there is a direct correlation between the amount of pontificating and the number of weeks pregnant of said respondents)

Then, it escalates. I can practically hear MrsPeepers22 shrieking when she tries to salvage her reputation:

MrsPeepers22: I didn't ask for your opinion! I just wanted to know if I could combine the Clomid with an alcoholic beverage with no adverse side effects! And, incidentally, I won't be ovulating during this time, so I think it's ok! Furthermoe, I've been TTC for two years now, and if I didn't take a drink in that entire time while ovulating and I'm still not pregnant, why put my life on hold if it may not even happen?

Yeah! MrsPeepers22 kicked Snookypants102 and PurryFurry1 to the curb!

I read on for a bit more -- someone may have implied that MrsPeepers22 should pray more since SHE had been blessed (I HATE that phrase) with a bouncing baby girl after trying for many years, blah blah blah.

I closed the page. But I'll probably go back sometime, just to see if MrsPeepers22 ever changes her italicized status to "Due in...!"

I hope she drank at that wedding and DTD and got pregnant that very weekend. That'll show PurryFurry and SnookyPants.

Day Two: Smoke, Mirrors, and Retractions

I went to yoga today and, during a transition from cow-faced pose to downward-facing cobra, the left-hand side of my uterus pinged me. Must get back to her soon, she seems pissed.

Ouch, though. Of course, I'm figuring that it can't possibly be due to the fact that I twisted the wrong direction during the Warrior pose, it's got to be Clomid making me achy. O. informed me that I will surely feel the ovulation this month, since I told her I never ever feel a damned thing.

By the way, I recommend that you never, ever, read about Clomid online. There are a bunch of stories about Clomid and health insurance. I don't even know if they're real. I clicked on a flashing red box marked "WARNING READ THIS IF YOU PLAN TO TAKE CLOMID!!" while I was reading some how-to-get-pregnant blog, and it was yet another blog, laden with testimonials about not being able to be insured for five years after taking Clomid unless you have your tubes tied.

The whole thing sounds so nuts and crazy and urban-legend like that I stopped reading it and went to my default Web site, There, I could read about Brittany Spears wearing a see-through top or Tiger Woods spotted at sex rehab or look at Jennifer Aniston's gorgeous, toned, and tanned legs in a dress that cost more than my entire college education.

Sometimes, I look at those celebrities, the women of child-bearing age especially, and imagine how many of them have been through something like what I am going through, or what I'm feeling about getting pregnant or having miscarriages or trying to get pregnant, and their smiles make me sadder still because they can't walk out the door and buy digital ovulation predictor kits without the entire tabloid nation knowing about it. That's really too bad for them. But then they do have those dresses.

Seriously, though, losing a pregnancy or not being able to get pregnant is something so many women share as an experience, even if we don't share it out loud, across the board. Being famous and rich doesn't help the pain. Wait, it does. Never mind. No, but really, truly, this is a situation that is frustrating and sad and sometimes even embarrassing.

And we know, it's the secret no one talks about, we wait until it's safe to tell others, the required three months or even longer, to make sure the tests and the heartbeat and the levels of whatever are just so, before putting our toe in the water to reveal, "I'm pregnant! It's true! It wasn't a stomach bug! I didn't have a stomach cyst the size of a cantaloupe! I didn't not drink because I was detoxing! It was all a ruse!"

Which of course brings us to the fact that all of this smoke and mirrors has to occur in the first place. Telling others that you're pregnant is just making you too vulnerable, too prone to pity. At least that's what it is with me. I'm truly horrified at the thought of people sitting around, tsking, and saying, "Poor poor thing. She lost it, you know. Nine weeks." Or, "Poor, poor thing. And she even started to gain the baby weight. That's got to be tough." Which is why you pretend to detox instead of drinking or, as my husband and I did once, pretend that you are drinking, but have the other person drink the drink for you. All of these smoke and mirrors to avoid the dreaded explanation of what happened. Which, in most cases, is totally and completely unknown.

The first time I got pregnant, I told my dad, but asked him to keep the whole thing under wraps. "Just wait until I hear a heartbeat, for godssakes, dad," I pleaded. And he was like, "Oh, what's going to happen! Everything will be fine!" and then he proceeded to email every last one of his friends. I felt sorry for him on the day that I had to tell him I miscarried. I felt bad about all of the email retractions he would have to write.

Funny, how after that miscarriage, I had more men than women walk up to me and tell me how sorry they were. It's not that the women were any less sorry for me, but the men seemed much more outwardly touched by the news and compelled to express their sympathy. The women in my life were interested in the details of the procedures and the pain (not much) or the tests. We women live the physicality of pregnancy and birth and even rearing children so much more than men do, and my friends' intuitive leanings toward the less emotional and more pragmatic ended up making sense. But I liked how their reactions surprised me about men, and that was a nice thing.

It's almost 7. Only a couple more hours before my next hit. Maybe tonight will be the night that I start with the sweating. Oh, I almost forgot: I also get to lok forward to being more emotional, acting more "female" as my Dr. put it. Really, I thought. What the heck does that mean. I suppose it means that as a "female" I'll go around baring teeth or falling into weeping fits. I've reminded P. that this emotional collapse is impending. He has brushed it off for now, but I'm worried. I wonder if I won't have my head about me. I picture it like when people turn into werewolves of Dr. Jekyll turned into Mr. Hyde, and I have no control over my actions, I'll upturn tables, eat the heads off of chickens, kill prostitutes in Victorian England, and then wake up with a raging headache, without the slightest idea of the havoc I wreaked.

I think I'll make dinner before I take the pill, just to be on the safe side of possibly poisoning my poor husband.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day One: Sweaty Bachelor Nights Ahead

Day One of Clomid. I took Clomid, well, actually, it's generic clone, clomiphene citrate, around 9 p.m. My friend, O., suggested I take it before bed due to the hot flashes I should be expecting. So I dutifully waited until 9 p.m. and drank it down with a glass of water. Immediately afterward, I walked into the office where my husband was on the computer, and announced, "let the games begin." We high-fived.

Wonder if I should keep a change of clothes and a cooler of cold drinks on my side of the bed for the impending sweat.

It's been one hour since I took the pill. I swear, I can feel my eggs lining up at the door of my fallopian tubes, ready to burst forth.

I stay up until 1 a.m., watching The Bachelor and Law and Order and I blame the Clomid for my lack of sleepiness. But in truth, I have no idea if that's a side effect or not. I decide that it is and I will undoubtedly sleep less and less with every passing day until I ovulate, and then I will be too exhausted to have the sex.

1st millennium B.C., Near Eastern fertility goddess